Common Financial Aid Questions | Parents

Before we apply, can we get a sense of whether our family might qualify for aid?

Yes. Just enter your student’s high school grade point average (GPA) and ACT/SAT scores and your family’s financial information into Pacific’s Net Price Calculator to get a quick estimate of how much aid your student may qualify to receive. There are three options for entering your financial information. The more complete and accurate financial information you enter, the better the estimate of your family’s aid eligibility.

My spouse and I are separated/divorced. Who should complete our student’s FAFSA?

You are required to report the financial information for the parent who the student lived with most in the last 12 months, as well as any stepparent’s income and assets. If your student did not live with either parent, or lived an equal amount of time with each parent, then the parent who provided the student with the most support in the last 12 months should report their financial information on the FAFSA.

When do I file the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is available beginning Oct. 1 for the following academic year. For example, if you wish to apply for financial aid for the 2020-21 academic year, the FAFSA is available Oct. 1, 2019.

Applicants for admission should file the FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1; however, there is no Pacific University deadline for submitting the FAFSA. Families should be aware, however, that need-based financial aid resources are finite and applicants are considered based on the receipt date of the FAFSA.

Continuing students should file the FAFSA by March 1 for the upcoming academic year. Need-based funds, such as Federal Work-Study and Federal SEOG Grants are awarded on a date-prioritized basis and usually not available to students who submit the FAFSA after March 1.

What is verification, and why do we have to do it?

Each year the U.S. Department of Education selects approximately 30 percent of FAFSA filers for a process called verification. Verification is designed to make sure information submitted on the FAFSA is accurate and complete. Additionally, the Financial Aid Office is required to resolve any conflicting documentation that might be present in a student’s financial aid file.

If you are selected for verification, you will need to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (or submit Tax Transcripts) for both the parent and student. There may be other worksheets that you and the student may need to complete, sign, and return to the Financial Aid Office. Required documents are listed in the Financial Aid Self Service tool, accessed through the student’s BoxerOnline account. The Financial Aid Office will review the information you provide and update your FAFSA, if necessary.

Will the financial aid award change after we have received the original award?

Your student’s merit scholarships(s) and award(s) are based on the information provided with the application for admission and any submitted scholarship applications; therefore, these awards will not change after the original offer. If the information you provided on the FAFSA changes, as a result of a FAFSA update or completion of the verification process, your student’s eligibility for need-based federal, state, and institutional aid (Pacific Grant) may change. Eligibility for need-based financial aid may increase or decrease, based on the calculated results of the FAFSA.

How and when will my student be notified of his/her financial aid eligibility?

Applicants for admission will be notified of their eligibility for merit-based scholarships at the time of admission to Pacific. Notification of talent awards and other competition-based scholarships, as well as eligibility for need based funding, will be provided to admitted applicants beginning mid-January. To receive an award that includes need-based funding by mid-January, applicants must file the FAFSA by December 1. An initial award letter is sent to the applicant’s permanent address reported in the application for admission.

Continuing students will be notified of their eligibility for renewed merit-based scholarships and awards by May 1. To receive an award that includes need-based funding by May 1, continuing students must file the FAFSA by March 1. Awards for students submitting the FAFSA after March 1 will be made on a date-prioritized basis after May 1.

Financial aid awards for admitted applicants and continuing students are available online through Financial Aid Self Service, which is accessed via the BoxerOnline portal.  Upon admission to Pacific University, admission applicants will receive an email from Pacific’s University Information Services, which provides information for establishing a user account in BoxerOnline. Once an account is established, admitted applicants and students can access financial aid information by clicking on Manage My Financial Aid in BoxerOnline.

What GPA does a student need to maintain a merit scholarship?

There is no minimum GPA requirement to retain merit scholarships; however, students must remain full-time students and maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA to retain merit scholarships as well as other federal, state and need based aid.

Does Pacific give scholarships for academic merit, special talents or athletic ability?

Pacific University has a robust undergraduate scholarship program. Students will be automatically considered for academic scholarships based on their high school grade point average and ACT/SAT scores. In addition, there are a variety of scholarships based on a student’s special talent or interest, such as music, theatre, world languages, speech and debate, dance, math and computer science, philosophy, and gender & sexuality studies.

As a member of the NCAA Division III, Pacific University does not offer scholarships based on athletic ability or participation. Athletic ability or participation plays no role in establishing a student’s eligibility for merit or need based financial aid resources.

What if my student wins an outside scholarship?

Students who receive outside scholarships or awards are required to report these resources to the Financial Aid Office. These resources may affect a student’s eligibility for need-based financial aid. Often, outside scholarships can be used to reduce the amount of a student’s unmet need.  If a student’s demonstrated need has been met, outside scholarships will reduce a student’s eligibility for need-based aid in the following order:  Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, Federal Work-Study, Federal SEOG, Pacific grants. All financial aid, in combination with outside scholarships, cannot exceed the student’s Cost of Attendance.

Do we need to reapply for financial aid each year?

Merit-based scholarships are automatically renewed, as long as students meet academic and participation requirements. Continuing students have the opportunity to apply for additional merit scholarships each year. 

To receive need-based financial aid, you must file the FAFSA by March 1 each year for the upcoming academic year. If your family’s financial circumstances remain similar, you can expect that the financial aid package will remain the same from year to year. If your family’s financial circumstances change significantly from year to year, your student’s eligibility for need-based aid could change. FAFSA results determine eligibility for the following need-based programs:

  • Pacific Grant
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal SEOG Grant
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
  • Federal Work Study
  • Oregon Opportunity Grant

How do I inform you of special circumstances involving my finances?

The Financial Aid Office recognizes that families may have special or unique circumstances that affect their ability to contribute to educational expenses. Families may appeal their eligibility for need-based financial aid by providing a written explanation of their financial circumstances, along with supporting documentation.

If you are unsure if your circumstances can be considered, we encourage you to contact our office to discuss your specific situation. Stacie Englund, Assistant Director of Financial Aid, can be contacted at Stacie will explain the reconsideration process and outline what supporting documentation may be required.

I reviewed the Cost of Attendance. Are there other charges or expenses that I should be aware of?

All students enrolled at Pacific are automatically billed for the university’s medical insurance plan. If your student is already covered by a policy, a waiver must be filled out online each school year. Many families choose to waive this charge; therefore, the cost of medical insurance is not included in the Cost of Attendance. If you do not waive this charge, you may request that the cost of the university’s medical insurance plan be included in the Cost of Attendance. Such adjustments in a student’s Cost of Attendance may increase the amount a student is eligible to borrow through the federal student and parent loan programs.

Note: The full cost of the university’s medical insurance plan is included on the invoice for fall semester; no additional charge occurs for spring semester.

What are some options for paying the bill?

There are several options available for paying the balance owed after financial aid is subtracted.

Monthly Payment Plan

You may pay the balance on your student’s account in monthly installments using Pacific’s online tuition payment plan. There is a $40 per semester set-up fee for this plan. Enrollment is available through your student’s BoxerOnline account.  By logging into BoxerOnline, your student can give you permission to view the bill and make payments. Additional information regarding payment plans and deadlines is available at Student Accounts.

Long-Term Financing

Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan

You may choose to borrow under the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, thereby spreading out the payment of educational expenses over ten years. The Parent PLUS Loan is available to parents of dependent undergraduates. Parent borrowers may borrow up to the entire cost of attendance less any financial aid the student receives. Eligibility for the Federal Direct PLUS Loan is credit-based; borrowers must not have negative credit. For more information about Federal Direct PLUS loans, please visit

Interest Rate, Fees & Repayment

  • 5.30% for Direct PLUS Loans disbursed after July 1, 2020.
  • Fixed interest rate
  • Interest paid may be tax-deductible
  • Fees of 4.236% are deducted from the loan when disbursed to the school. NOTE: Direct Loans fees may change on Oct. 1 of each year.
  • Standard 10-year repayment begins 60 days after the loan has been fully disbursed, but can be deferred while the student is enrolled at least half-time. Other repayment options may be available and are described at
  • Deferment, cancellation, forbearance, forgiveness, and discharge information is available at

Parent PLUS Loan Application Instructions

  • Using your (parent) FSA ID, log into
  • From the menu on the left hand side of the page, click on Apply for a PLUS Loan.
  • Under the Direct PLUS Loan Request for Parent Borrowers section, click on the Complete PLUS Request for Parents box.
  • Provide the requested information and select Pacific University in Oregon in the School and Loan Information section.
  • You will be notified of your credit approval (or denial) after submitting your loan request.
  • If your credit is approved, complete a Master Promissory Note by clicking on Complete MPN under Master Promissory Note in the menu on the left hand side of the page.
  • If your credit is denied, you have the option of documenting extenuating circumstances or obtaining an endorser (co-signer).  Contact the Financial Aid Office if you need assistance with either of these steps.
  • You will receive an e-mail from the U.S. Department of Education once your request has been processed.  Within 24 hours, the Pacific Financial Aid Office will receive your Parent PLUS Loan request and certify your student’s eligibility for the loan with the U.S. Department of Education.
Alternative Loan

A variety of private lenders offer alternative loans funded through non-governmental sources. Unlike the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, the student is usually the borrower for an alternative loan.  Eligibility for an alternative loan is credit-based, however, and generally student borrowers will be required to obtain a credit-worthy co-signer.  Once you and your student have considered all of the federal loan options, you may wish to view and compare alternative loan options using FASTChoiceFASTChoice is a tool that provides detailed information for various loans, as well as the terms and benefits offered by lenders that have provided alternative loans to Pacific University students in prior years. While this tool can help you and your family make an informed decision about the most appropriate loan for you, you are not required to select a lender using the FASTChoice tool.

Pacific University staff members follow the Education Loan Code of Conduct (pdf) in administering education loans.

Combined Approach

In thinking about meeting the family’s contribution to educational expenses, we recommend a combined approach using the following resources: past income (savings), current income (including student employment), and future income (loans).  We recognize that families may not have the cash flow or liquid assets to accommodate a payment plan strategy. We also recognize that many families strive to keep borrowing to a minimum. A combined approach — a payment plan and borrowing that fits a family’s financial circumstances--allows a family to pay as much as possible, interest free, though the payment plan and then borrow the rest using one of the long-term financing options.